Kimball takes first career pole in Texas IndyCar qualifying
- Author: Julie Sanders Jun 13, 2017,
Jun 13, 2017, 9:00
With 52 laps to go, Scott Dixon led the field to the green flag but was quickly passed by Power on the first lap. Kimball was flying across the Texas oval with an average speed well over 222 miles per hour.
That crash came a week after Dixon and friend Dario Franchitti were robbed at gunpoint while waiting in the drive-thru lane at a Taco Bell, only a mile from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after the 36-year-old New Zealander had the best qualifying run in 21 years at Indy.
"I'm really excited to be on-pole".
"Anytime you see a number 220 and above on your dash, it gets your attention", Kimball said. "The No. 83 Tresiba Honda was really good right out of the box and Todd (Malloy, engineer) made a few adjustments that made it better during the course of practice. During qualifying we just took a swing at it and went out and got the job done". The next race is June 25 at the Road America circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wis. Weather.com suggests only a 10 percent chance of rain on Saturday night, with clouds and a high of 72 degrees. They were his first top-5 finishes of the season. He was on the white line, driver's left, and then, just heading into (Turn) 3, came halfway across the racetrack and just pushed me right into Mikhail. Chaves is only running the three super speedway races this season with the brand new Harding Racing team in an effort to make a full-time run in 2018.
The reigning Indianapolis 500 champion lost control of his auto after touching the grass verge and collected Dixon, taking both drivers out of the race. He called rival team owner Chip Ganassi's suggestion that he should have lifted as he was in the middle of the car-sandwich "adorable". Tristan Vautier was subbing for the injured Sebastien Bourdais, who crashed last month in qualifying at Indy.
Vautier's effort was impressive, as it was his first time driving an Indy vehicle since the 2015 season-finale.
The final caution came a lap later when Japan's Takuma Sato, driving the same auto he won the Indianapolis 500 in two weeks ago and pushing for another, got his left side slightly into the grass on the front stretch, with five laps to go. "It's really good to work with these guys, (engineers) Craig (Hampson) and Olivier (Boisson) and obviously the rest of the team". "These guys want to take it three-wide with 100 laps to go, I've got no understanding why".
Sato made a ridiculous move onto the grass and lost control of his auto and slid across the back of Dixon to take the 36-year-old out of contention. The highest-placing Penske auto, and the highest starting Chevrolet in the entire field, was Will Power coming home in ninth.
With only a handful of laps remaining Sato dipped a wheel on the grass at Turn 1 while fighting for P2 with four-time champion Dixon. The third driver out, Rahal posted an average of 220.954 miles per hour in his No. 15 Honda to knock Marco Andretti (220.318 mph) off the provisional pole.
During stops on the ensuing caution, Sato got pinned into the wall during a pit road collision that damaged the front wing of his vehicle.
"I was a bit nervous to be honest", admitted Vautier. Kanaan's No. 10 NTT Data Honda made slight contact with Hinchcliffe's No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda, sending Hinchcliffe into teammate Aleshin and triggering a nine-car incident that wound up bringing out a red flag to halt racing for 30 minutes.
When defending Texas victor Graham Rahal swept the two Detroit races last weekend, he became the first driver this season with multiple victories.